Over 700 toys have been donated for the secret Santa’s workshop, a new addition to The Link Food Centre’s annual holiday spirit funding drive. (Submitted photo)

Over 700 toys have been donated for the secret Santa’s workshop, a new addition to The Link Food Centre’s annual holiday spirit funding drive. (Submitted photo)

Over 700 toys donated for Burns Lake’s ‘secret Santa’

Holiday spirit funding drive in full swing

Burns Lakers are going above and beyond this Christmas season to ensure every child finds a present under their Christmas tree.

Over 700 toys have been donated for the secret Santa’s workshop, a new addition to the annual holiday spirit funding drive, said Candice Little, The Link Food Centre’s finance and food centre manager.

The secret Santa’s workshop is currently taking place at the Lakeview Mall. Families that have applied to receive the gifts have until Dec. 23, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., to pick up the toys their kids will love the most. They’ll also have access to a gift wrapping station.

READ MORE: Link offers new, inclusive Christmas gift program

“It is the season of giving, and at a time of year when we take time to reflect on how blessed we are, it is important to consider those who may not be quite so fortunate,” said Little.

Also new this year is the ‘24 days of giving,’ which highlights businesses that have donated $500 or more to the food bank. These businesses are being recognized as “donor of the day” on social media, between Dec. 1 and 24.

As of Dec. 13, there are only three spots left, said Little.

But as the sixth annual funding drive nears the end, food and cash donations are still being encouraged. As of Dec. 13, the organization still needs approximately $8,700 to reach its $22,500 goal.

And there’s no shortage of need in Burns Lake, said Little.

Last fiscal year the food bank provided food to 1,198 individuals — that’s an increase of 27 per cent over the previous year. Little said 32 per cent of those clients were under the age of 18, and 14 per cent were over the age of 60.

“Not all of these people come every week for support, but many do,” said Little, adding the amount of support the food bank provides to its clients is directly related to the amount of money it raises throughout the year and the grants acquired.

“We, at The Link, are so grateful that this community of ours takes pride in making sure that none of our neighbours go hungry this year,” said Little. “That’s what community is all about.”

Food donations can be dropped off at The Link Food Centre (Mondays from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), Save-On-Foods or the Real Canadian Wholesale Club.

For more details on how to make a donation, visit www.ldfes.com.

RELATED: Lakes District Food Bank celebrates one year in new location

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